Has the year that ended been everything that it could to you? Answers may vary: from abject negation to positive euphoria, to no-sides-taken dismissal. If given a glance, the year that was has been kind to a lot of us, as it has been cruel to many. I remember the fanfare and bonhomie with which the year had begun its advent into our lives and into our hearts. I personally, had been to a lot of weddings! It felt like if you were engaged, last year was the year when many hearts tied strings that would last a lifetime. The political scenario was steady, if anything, and other than a few sporadic incidents, the going was smooth. Business was its usual boom and break mode as was the services.
That so much could change so soon and with such temerity is indeed a matter of time’s moody sway upon the inhabitants of this motley planet of ours, especially us human beings. Our part of this planet began the year with fanfare and ends with a lot of questions. Some questions are outright obvious; has the year been good? Now, your answer to this question will have two basic answers; yes, on a personal level, many of us, most, would confirm in the affirmative. To be still alive is a gift in itself, a gift many have not been blessed with. With this first question, let us remember for a moment all whom we lost in the last year. From celebrities to family members, from villages and towns, from cities and roads, all who have lost someone this last year will for one moment give them cognisance and honour. To be still alive is a gift which doesn’t in any manner make the ones who departed any less. Now that death has been taken care of, let us look at other forms of loss...
Loss of material possessions could rankle even a very stable mind. If any of us have lost something that we held dear, something we possessed that we no longer do, let us remember that possessions can be regained, happiness cant! So that takes care of material loss, for if one holds their happiness ransom in pursuit of material possessions, we are deceitful to our hearts whose natural state is happiness-bliss-joy. Let it go...that should take care of the losses we incur in the form of money, in the form of property, in the form of possessions which are but things. Remember our first question and how we pondered upon life and its end? Well, we cannot take any of our material possessions with us, not even people, unless you are one of those Egyptian pharaohs who believed that they could take along their possessions and relations. No, we cannot! Now, that leaves people and even with great sadness, we will have to accept that we lose them too, however beloved, however close, however precious. What we need to do instead is understand, an understanding such that imbibes in us the natural grace to accept what is time’s decree. A graceful understanding of the kind that gives us strength to overcome our loss, to overcome our sorrow, to embrace joy. We have to be brave to do that, but all of us have the inner capacity to do so.
Many of us have been blessed with gifts too, this last year...so let us go to the next question that the year might have asked us. What have you been gifted with? Even with all the loss that the past year might have brought us, we have nonetheless been blessed with a lot, things we should be grateful for. Though, we have to understand that we have to be grateful for a lot of things, for everything that we have, most importantly for life! I was trained when I undertook a course in Reiki that the attitude which heals is the attitude of gratefulness, they had a name for it, and they called it ‘The Attitude of Gratitude’. According to the rituals of Reiki, any disease or symptom can be cured if we let this attitude pervade our beings. Reiki is the practice of this gratitude for being alive. Now, even without learning the ways of Reiki, we can, as commoners, imbibe this loving-giving kindness in all our beings, in our lives. This life is precious, let us treat it so. Thus, the first gift of living is to learn to be grateful of being alive, whatever the circumstance. If one has health, or even if one is suffering, time heals even the most cruel circumstance. With this faith in time, let us accept all that it has to offer us. Then, there is the gift of life...I have seen many, even some relations and friends, welcome in into their lives a new life. Yes, children! Last year has been bountiful in many people’s lives as they have been blessed with new life, they will remember the last year with great pride and jubilation. So will we, for we will welcome in a lot of new names into our fold, into our homes and into our lives. Material possessions too have been amassed by a lot of us, new cars, bikes, homes, etc. We have to be thankful that we have been given a chance to welcome in these new possessions but always remember that they are things, not to be compared with real, living people. There have been other forms of gifts, new jobs, new positions, new businesses but we have to understand that they are liable to the varies of time. With time, things change and with change, we do too. The most important gift though, that the last year could have given us, is ‘hope’. If you have not received material gain or joy, remember that we have life and with it, we have hope. Hope is a very strong asset, it makes a tiger out of a mouse, a mountain out of a molehill. We, in the North Eastern part of our land have been given hope in more ways than one. The strength and unity of the people of our land have been tested and we have stood firm to stand for our region, because and only because we have hope. We hope for a better tomorrow for our children than we have been given, as the year ends, as a new year begins, we have proved that we stand united! That is as much a cause of celebration as is any other reason.
What other questions can the New Year bring us? Let us unravel the proceeding of time, let us look at the past year with unbiased glasses on our eyes. Have you been happy? Being alive is, I believe, in itself reason for happiness but with this question comes another question, ‘Have you been kind?’ Now, many of us could take affront at this question, what business is it of mine to be kind? What, now I owe kindness to the world? But, have we, even for a moment thought of the ones less blessed, disadvantaged, perhaps by time or by circumstances. I can imagine the fanfare with which many of us would bring in the new year, but what of the ones who cannot? When I was younger, I would love roaming around the city streets late into the night. Not that I was ever in search of anything, but it gave me great joy to do so, as the city was sleeping. I would often do that with cousins, or friends. One thing that has always struck me is that we were on the streets as a matter of choice, we were well fed and well clothed, had homes we could go back to. What struck me was that there were many on the streets that did not have a choice, who were there because they had no other option. Have we been kind? Let us for a moment ponder upon that question, if any of you are still too young to assume things, could it not be a good game to wish the disadvantaged a New Year and gift them something, even a bar of chocolate? This is the reason that the two questions go together, these two very special questions; have you been happy? With; have you been kind? I believe, as many of us do, that with happiness comes an obligation, the obligation to be kind. For, someone has rightly said that with every moment of happiness that an honest man is gifted with, he puts in some amount of honest, unselfish work. Now, I don’t remember who said this, but I am very sure that whoever did was an honest man. Come, to think about it, it applies to both men and women, all of us in this planet of ours.
There are some other very important questions that the New Year might ask us; the question that almost all of us don’t want to answer; have you been honest this year? The answers would vary according to circumstance or very jovially, to the degree to which one has been honest. ‘Somewhat’, would say the ones who believe that they have not been totally honest. My five year old nephew who cannot decide whether he wants to be Spider-Man or Black-Panther and is always caught between them, one day being Spider-Man and the other, Black-Panther, is sometimes at a crossroad and when I charge him with being dishonest, he laughs! I wish that our human dishonesty was as innocent as that of this five-year old is. No, human dishonesty is not just about imaginary superheroes, it is not metaphorical. Human dishonesty goes to the extent of harming others, their lives, their property and sometimes, their egos. Thus, this question that the New Year asks us, have you been honest the last year? I think many of us would choose not to answer this question, so let me make it a tad easier; will you be honest this year? This is the New Year’s question and if we can answer in the affirmative, we will stand to win in this dichotomy which all of us face.
There are many questions that the New Year might bring, but most important, a question that might make you actually smile, is regarding a topic we all had been very serious about this time last year; remember your New Year Resolutions? Ha! Yes, that is the last question that needs to be asked before we end this interrogation by the New Year. Most of us would smile for many, if not all of us, had made these resolutions as the clock ticked past 12:00 in the night. We would smile because most of those would find new place again, we would repeat most of those promises which were our resolutions. How many of us would remember the strong resolutions that we had made? Remember that resolution to go to the gym? Yes, we went a few days, until it felt like a lot of work. Remember that resolution to read more? Yes, many of us did, but many faltered. Remember that resolution to be more giving, kind? Have we really been able to do that? Remember that resolution to give up drinking? Well, you almost succeeded, until you didn’t! Remember that resolution to give up smoking? I am in thrall of all of them who could actually do so...
The good news is that the New Year is upon us again. Let us all ask ourselves some questions, some I have already asked you and some that you need to ask yourselves. Find those questions, but more importantly, find their answers! With new hope and a new heart, let us also pray that our land, these sisters of the North East, find what they rightfully deserve this year. A new decade awaits, something that is very rare, let us pray that this decade is the best of them yet, for our state, region, country and the world in general. Happy New Year!